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Turquoise has a storied past in many, many civilizations. Worn by Egyptian pharaohs, Chinese emperors, Mayan rulers, and other ancient royalty, the stone was believed by cultures to be imbued with mystical powers. Others, like the Native Americans, celebrated it for its spiritual importance.

No matter how it’s appreciated, the most desirable turquoises have a deep, intense blue. Depending on where it’s mined, it can have very different characteristics. American and Mexican turquoise have a trademark green-blue/blue-green hue while the Egyptian variety have more of a yellowish-green to green-blue (depending on the iron content.) Like many other gems, turquoise is treated (usually a wax impregnation) to stabilize the color. Due to the porosity of the stone, untreated turquoise is vulnerable to darkening or discoloration over time from environmental contamination. Dark brown markings can sometimes be found in turquoise. Caused by limonite, the vein-like matrix unfortunately lowers the value of the stone. The best specimens of turquoise have a waxy luster and show no matrices.

Turquoise in general is plentiful and common but like other natural gems, the highest quality stones are rare and in short supply. Arizona and China’s Hubai Provinces are two regions where many of these high value stones are culled. Other major producers of turquoise include Egypt, Chile and Iran.

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